“I am religious,” says one. “What will happen is God’s will.”
“Absolutely,” I replied, “and God has given us free will. And did you know that all the Christian leaders are backing The Big One because they think it’s so important? (This is true—google London’s Bishops and Archdeacons back “The Big One” climate change protest.)
If they were from the Far East I talked sorrowfully of the unbearable impacts their countries were already suffering. If they were black I talked about the Civil Rights movement—“This is the way change is made! Together and united!”
If they were veiled Muslim women I talked of the Suffragette movement (kidding).
Whoever I talked to, I looked soulfully into their eyes and placed my hand on their arm (you know, like the politicians kissing babies to get votes) and said, “United, we can do this. Together, we can force the government to listen.” Simon did the same thing in Reversing Time—he adapted his words to his audience.
And I only got a little irritable ONCE. There was this Ukranian woman who barely spoke English, so I acted out the different choices while she said how the Ukranians were peace-loving people and how traumatized she was so she couldn’t go to a large rally because crowds scared her. So then I wanted her to bugger off so I could focus on somebody else (any ex-student of mine can testify to my oodles of empathy) but she’s putting her sticker on the #1 spot for how the government is dealing with the crisis.
“Government here very good,” she says, jabbing another sticker on the #1 spot.
“They’re crap about the environment,” I said, “you’re only supposed to put one sticker.”
“Very good government. Best government,” she says, feverishly showering stickers on #1, obviously pissed that the majority of people had stuck them on #5 (if you zoom in on the panels you’ll see how many stickers the silly cow put on #1).
Eventually I grabbed her hand, which was acceptable since she didn’t speak English and obviously hadn’t understood and damn if I was going to let someone bolster Rushi Sunak’s ratings through ignorance. Give her a year or two and she’ll be bitching and complaining like the rest of us. 😊
Since coming to England, I’ve had this strange feeling that every idea in Reversing Time is being implemented, which is a bit weird because it means that all the ideas I thought were mine are in fact universal.
1.) Simon time travels to right wing and left wing families and concludes that both of them are resisting change equally, for different reasons; my little contribution to chipping away at left sanctimony about this issue. Last week I went to a climate action meeting and met Ed Gemmel, leader of the new Climate Party. What’s the difference between that party and the Green Party? Ed’s right-wing and that’s beautiful because this issue can NOT become polarized (or more polarized). Unfortunately he bored the shit out of me by blabbing on about how religious he is. Go kiss some babies, Ed.
2.) I have always lamented that there are multiple climate groups with little overlap. The vast majority of people care about this issue, and if we unite we are HUGE (like we’ll be on Parliament Square later this month, Inshallah). But all these little groups work on their own because Greenpeace doesn’t like Extinction Rebellion because they do civil unrest and this one doesn’t like…it’s always pissed me off. But now we’re all joining together.
3.) The goal of Reversing Time was to “empower people to see what will happen if we do act” (interview in Atlantic Books) and part of how to do that is to create art that inspires with hope. Instead, as I’ve said in previous blogs, climate fiction is dystopian and all the messaging is doom and gloom. This is CRAZY, and that’s why Reversing Time is full of realistic hope, about a boy who becomes a climate hero through doing what we all should be doing—because it’s possible to change the future if we act now. There are tons of statistics etc. out there proving that people respond to hope much more than despair, and it’s totally obvious, but I felt like I was all by myself (the looney bin phenomenon again).
But then the BBC wrote: “Despite our societies being at crisis point, just 2.8% of scripted TV and films released 2016-2020 mentioned anything related to climate change, and just 0.56% mentioned it directly. We are interested in stories that explore climate change creatively. We are not interested in apocalyptic dystopias.”
Yes, you did read that correctly—they’re not interested in dystopias!
Bridging the polarized gap, uniting forces, creating utopian art--despite the realization that my ideas are actually run of the mill this is fucking BRILLIANT. Dear human race, I think we’re actually going to do this!
Tip: If you love meat, chicken isn’t that bad for the environment. If you love beef, cut it down. A T-bone steak should be a lobster-like treat—we actually enjoy things more if they’re treats, so if you cut down your meat-eating you’ll actually be happier! And check out the new plant-based meat—it really does taste the same!